Aaron Isaacs, currently assistant dean of students at nearby Goodwin College in East Hartford, has been named the University of Hartford’s dean of students. He will begin on Oct. 2.
The appointment of Isaacs is the third and final piece of a new multifaceted structure for student success announced by President Gregory Woodward last month. Isaacs will work closely with Jessica Nicklin, associate vice president for student success, and RJ McGivney, associate vice president for institutional effectiveness and continuing education, to create new partnerships and cohesive actions that address student success from every angle.
"I look forward to working with Aaron in the reinvention of our new student success enterprise,” Woodward said. “His professional and personal experiences, combined with a research and data driven, student-centered mindset will allow him to contribute immediately to UHart in significant ways. We are lucky to have him join our team."
In his new role at UHart, Isaacs will oversee Career Services, the Center for Community Service, Strategic Partnerships, Student Conduct, Campus Ministry/Hillel, student clubs, Greek Life, Multicultural programs, Summer Bridge, and Residential Life programming and housing (in partnership with facilities).
“I am thrilled to be a part of a university that is taking bold steps to enhance the overall student experience,” Isaacs said. “In a polarizing time in society, it is inspiring to work at a place such as the University of Hartford that is willing to embrace its rich diversity, to rethink how it delivers comprehensive supports, and to clearly define pathways toward meaningful degrees and student success. I look forward to connecting with students, staff, and faculty and leveraging my commitment to student success in furthering this endeavor.”
Isaacs has spent the past 12 years in higher education as an educator, mentor, coach, and counselor. As assistant dean at Goodwin College, he developed a dashboard for tracking staff interactions with students across the department with the goal of showcasing the vital work done in Student Services, benchmarking success, and allocating resources. Isaacs was instrumental in establishing a career-readiness assessment for all incoming students with the goal of having them establish a career path early in their academic journeys, and oversaw the management and implementation of the IAM initiative, a grant-funded project that designed a curriculum to enhance students’ self-efficacy and self-esteem as a way to increase their persistence to graduation. He also fostered collaborative partnerships with local organizations, including teaming up with the Aurora Foundation for Women and Girls to develop a financial literacy conference for women.
Prior to his role as assistant dean, Isaacs was the director of Educational Opportunity Programs at Goodwin College, which houses the Men of Vision in Education, Women Invested in Securing an Education, and Summer Bridge Academy programs—all three designed to recruit, enroll, and support underserved populations in the Greater Hartford area as they pursue their four-year degree.He implemented a comprehensive advising model that directly linked faculty and students to supportive staff, increasing students’ overall success.
Before joining Goodwin, Isaacs held a number of roles at the University of Connecticut, including grant writer, Human Resources professional, and coordinating the tutoring and support network for more than 600 student-athletes.
Isaacs is currently serving as secretary for the Greater Hartford YMCA corporate board and is a member of Achieve Hartford’s All In Coalition, an action team designed to enroll Hartford Public School students in higher education. In 2017, he was nominated as one of Hartford’s 100 Men of Color by Eleven28 Entertainment, and in 2016, was selected by the Hartford Business Journal among the “40 Under 40” most influential people in Greater Hartford.
Isaacs obtained both his master’s (educational psychology) and bachelor’s (psychology) degrees from the University of Connecticut. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Higher Education Leadership and Human Resources at Colorado State University. Isaacs was a Division I athlete in track and field, winning two Big East indoor team titles as a thrower. He resides with his wife, Sarah, and son in West Hartford.